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June 2012

Short (Cake) Season

It's strawberry season here in Michigan.  Or. . . at least, it WAS strawberry season.  I heard yesterday that it's pretty much over now.  (But it was nice while it lasted!)

London trip 266e

This week, Carole has us thinking about our Ten Favorite Ways to Eat Strawberries.

  1. Just Plain
  2. On Short Cake with Whipped Cream
  3. In Daiquiris
  4. As Jam
  5. On Ice Cream as Sundae Topping
  6. Sliced in Cereal -- with Banana
  7. Dipped in Chocolate
  8. Sliced in Salads (especially good in spinach salad with a lemon vinaigrette)
  9. Mixed in a Smoothie
  10. In the Ears. . .

What's YOUR favorite way to eat strawberries?


Join the fun!  Sign up for Ten on Tuesday here.




Idiot Proofing

I roll my eyes and . . . guffaw. . . at idiotic warning labels on everyday products.  You know . . .

Do Not Use While Sleeping (on my hair dryer)

Use Like Regular Soap (on my bar of Dial soap)

Suitable for Outdoor Use (on my rain gauge)

Never Iron Clothes On The Body (on my Rowenta iron)

Not For Highway Use (on the rim of the tire on my wheelbarrow)

But I'm kinda thinking. . . that I might need an idiotic warning label on my knitting instructions.


Something like . . .

WARNING:  If lace pattern does not appear to line up appropriately, CONSULT THE DIRECTIONS.

That oughta do it.

In Case of a Water Landing

Jenny loves going up north with us. 


She loves playing in the woods and sitting around the campfire and going out in the pontoon for a ride around the lake.

But what she mostly likes is being in the water.  She likes to wade around in the lake, just checking out the fish and cooling off.  And she is especially fond of dock-jumping!


She will dive right in to retrieve any floating toys and objects, but her very favorite object of retrieval is . . .


the floatation device!

One of us will fling a floatation cushion in to the water. . .


and in she goes!

She retrieves it . . .


brings it safely to shore. . .



and stacks it up on the beach!


Over and over and over and over!


I don't know what it is about the floatation cushions, but she is wild about retrieving them and stacking them up on the beach.  She will actually take one from you if you're in the lake WITH a floatation cushion!

In case of a water landing . . . watch out for Jenny!


My Volunteer Corps

When your garden has been around for a few years, you start to notice . . . the abundance.


Lately, I've been spending a lot of time in the garden . . . managing my "volunteers corps."


See the hostas in the photo above?  ALL of them are divisions of other hostas. 

"Volunteers" just show up.


See those two spruce trees in the photo above?  I didn't plant them.  They just . . . appeared . . . a few years ago.  Tiny, tiny little trees that began from a cone that dropped in my garden..  I decided to just let them go and see what happened.  Now, they're both over 8 feet tall and add to the plant diversity of my woodsy area.  Keepers!

Some plants self-seed all over the place.  This geranium, for example.


Several years ago, it was a nice, compact well-behaved plant.  Now . . . it is everywhere in my garden.   It seeds itself. . . and sometimes I let it stay.  It has a way of adding a nice little pop of color here and there.  Sometimes I yank it out. . . .

Same with my butterfly weed.


I gave it an inch.  It's taking a mile!  But I like it, so I keep a lot of it.  The color is wonderful -- bright orange -- and it is one of the only food sources for the Monarch butterfly.  I pull what I don't want, and share the rest with friends.

Other plants have "volunteer" offspring.  Entirely separate plants that can be transplanted elsewhere.  This hellebores, for example. . .


begat a "helle-baby"!


Same with this ligularia. . .



and stonecrop sedum. . .



and brunnera. . .



and even a spirea!



I'll be digging up and transplanting all of these new "volunteer children" . . . elsewhere in my garden.

Sometimes, if you look really closely, you can even find "volunteers" hiding . . . and a long, long way from home!


This year, I'm working hard to manage my "volunteer corps" of plants -- moving and transplanting and thinning.  It's good for the garden, great fun for the gardener, and really stretches the garden budget.

Forward, march!

La La How the Life Goes On

Sing it, boys!

When I first saw Heidi Kirrmaier's Shellseeker sweater, I knew that I would knit it.  Stripes.  Slouch.  Sweatshirt-y goodness.  Exactly my kind of sweater!

I even had the very yarn she used deep in my stash. . .


Only. . . not quite. 

Although I had plenty of a main color,  I didn't have enough of any one contrasting color to make two-color stripes.


I stewed about it for quite a long time.  How would this sweater look with multi-colored stripes? 

I so wanted to knit it, but just wasn't sure. . .

And. . . what about all that color changing?  If I alternated colors EVERY other stripe, it would feel like I was constantly changing yarn.  (I knit my ends in as I go,** so that wasn't a big deal for me.)


In the end, I decided to knit two stripes of each color before changing.  I ended up with fewer color changes -- and a stripe-within-a-stripe kind of pattern.

A bit busy.  Perhaps too much color.  But . . . kind of perfect for a cool day at the lake.  Or out in the garden.  Or early morning shopping at the Farmer's Market.


Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da!


Ravelry details here.

**  If you want to learn how to knit your ends in as you go, here's a good tutorial with lots of photos.  There are also some great You Tube videos demonstrating the technique.  (I learned how in a fair isle class many years ago.)  It's a simple -- and Really Useful -- trick!

Let's Get Physical!**


I am sort of a workout fanatic.  I visit the gym nearly every day, and I work hard when I'm there.  I usually do a high-intensity aerobic dance class a couple of times a week, a spin class twice a week, and a kick-boxing/hip hop class once a week.  These classes all come with music  -- and it's all about the beat.  Loud, lively, catchy-tune kind of music. . . that makes you want to work harder, jump higher, and just ignore the pain. 

That's what workout music should do:  Inspire . . . keep you moving. . . and dull the senses!

I have a workout playlist on my iPod -- songs I can listen to when I'm working out without a  built-in soundtrack provided by a class.


What are my 10 Favorite Workout Songs?  Let's just look to my playlist. . .

1.    Song 2 -- by Blur

2.    Walk This Way -- Aerosmith

3.    Fighter -- Christina Aguilera

4.    Learn to Fly -- Foo Fighters

5.    Look Around -- Red Hot Chili Peppers

6.    Smooth Criminal -- Alien Ant Farm

7.    Even Flow -- Pearl Jam

8.    Lose Yourself -- Eminem

9.    Mysterious Ways -- U2

10.  Born This Way -- Lady Gaga

How about YOU?  What songs do you like to listen to when YOU work out?


**  NEVER.  Not in a million years.


Join the fun!  Sign up for Ten on Tuesday here.

Up North: This and That

It was a dark and dreary weekend. . . rainy, and downright cold . . . but we headed up north to put the docks in the lake anyway.


(The sun came out on Sunday morning. . . just hours before we packed up and left for home. Natch.)

We were entertained by a pair of pileated woodpeckers hanging about in our woods.


They move fast!  This is the best photo I was able to get . . . for now.  (It is amazing how loud these guys are; seriously, they sound like little jackhammers when they peck, and they have a slightly prehistoric-sounding call.)

Tom and Brian tried their first batch of beer.  An IPA.


From all accounts . . . pretty good!  (Alas, I stuck to my wine.)

I did a lot of knitting.  We will not speak of it now, however.


You see. . . this tiny little bit is all I have to show for hours and hours (and hours) of knitting.  Followed by 60 seconds of ripping. 

(And even that little bit . . . is gone now, too.)

I did, though, paint the back hallway at the cottage.

Before. . .


After. . .


Sometimes crappy weather makes for interesting and productive* weekends.


* Except for the knitting!


Right Now

Here's what's going on in my life  . . . RIGHT NOW.


Watching . . . the temperature dip down.  WAY down.  (Hard to believe that it was 95°F last weekend!)

Reading . . . Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel.  (I have been waiting for this book to come out since reading the last page of Wolf Hall.  I'm such a sucker for the Tudors.)

Knitting . . . Just finished Heidi Kirrmaier's Shellseeker pullover. . . even the sleeves.  It is blocking as we speak.  Next up:  Ziggity by Kirsten Kapur.  (I've also had a recent knitting FAIL.  I'll have to share soon.)

Humming . . . In my head, it seems to be ALL Red Hot Chili Peppers ALL the time!  Since the concert last Saturday night, my head is playing one RHCP song after another.  Still.  Currently, it's Under the Bridge.

Thinking about . . . Disappointments . . . and what you do with them . . . how they shape your life.

Listening to . . . White Album.  (If Why Don't We Do It In the Road can't get RHCP songs out of my head, perhaps nothing can!)


Dreading . . . A cold, wet weekend.  (Good for knitting and reading, not so much when your plans include a trip up north to put in the docks!)

Planning . . . Gardens.

Excited about . . . Visits!  Erin.  My sister.  My niece.  It's going to be a family-filled summer!


Drinking . . . Dante Reserve.  A Very Fine cab!

Itching to . . . Get my herb garden in!  I am a bit behind this year, but there's time.

Needing to . . . Get the wool out of my closet for the summer (or. . . I thought I needed to until today!).

Organizing . . . For my trip later this month!

Inspired by . . . An old Rolodex I found.  I have an idea. . .

Delighted by. . . All the things happening in my garden!  Some planned; some not.  But it's all good.

Remembering . . . That yesterday was my THIRD "Blogiversary!"

How about you?  What's happening for YOU . . . Right Now?